Well folks, it’s time for another gathering post in the series of Leveling Professions. This time we’re going to take a look at Mining, one of the most profitable gathering professions in the game, both directly and indirectly.
Mining is the primary gathering profession of Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting, and it provides mats which are often used in Alchemy as well.
As I’ve said before, gathering professions are where I tend to venture away from the guides at WoW-Professions.com, because I have my own paths I like to travel to get specific items that I know sell for more or are used for more items that what the guide tells you. You can click on this link to find their Mining Leveling Guide, and this one if you’d like to level 1-375 with their Smelting Guide.
I’m going to go through the leveling guide and give you the information that you don’t find at WoW-Professions. I’ll go over how/where I personally go about leveling them (where I deviate from their guides), and some things I like or dislike about the profession. I’ll also give a few tips on how I make gold with the profession, or ways that I might put it to use that aren’t apparent to everyone.
Getting Started: Materials
As a gathering profession, Mining doesn’t need anything in the way of actual mats of course. However, it does require you to devote one item in your bags to an item that works as a Mining Pick. You can get the actual Mining Pick or any number of weapons that count as one. You can also use a Gnomish Army Knife which I have about a dozen of to pass around to my toons so they always have the basic tools for any profession. You can buy a pick from almost any trade goods vendor in the game as well as Blacksmithing Supplies and Mining Supplies vendors.
Special Note: One good thing about Mining is that even when nodes are green to you they still have a very high chance of awarding a skill point because of how few nodes there are. Herbalism has a lot of nodes, so the chance of getting skills on green nodes is fairly low, Skinning has even more “nodes” so skill points on green skins are rare, but Mining has the fewest nodes of all gathering professions so it has a high skill up chance on greens to make up for that fact.
There are a few items and enchants that give you a bonus to your Mining skill that can help you move forward to new types of ore a bit faster.
Enchant Gloves – Mining: Use: Teaches you how to permanently enchant gloves to increase mining skill by 2.
Enchant Gloves – Advanced Mining: Use: Teaches you how to permanently enchant gloves to increase mining skill by 5.
Goblin Mining Helmet: Equip: Mining +5.
Enchant Gloves – Gathering: Permanently enchant gloves to increase Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning by 5. Requires a level 60 or higher item.
I keep a pair of white-quality Cloth gloves that have the enchant for each of the gathering professions (the individual enchants for each, not Gatherer) on them to pass around to toons while leveling. I almost always level miners with a pair of enchanted gloves to help them gather, mostly for when you start getting towards the end of vanilla content and beyond where you’ll find “rich” nodes in the same zones as regular nodes.
I wouldn’t bother with the +2 Mining enchant unless that’s really all you can find, and even then I’d probably skip it. Advanced Mining and Gathering are both decent enchants to use, but like I said I don’t often use Gathering because I like to be able to use these kinds of items on low level toons and Gatherer requires high level items to use it.
The Goblin Mining Helmet isn’t bad, but it has some requirements that make it hard for a lot of toons to use it. First off it requires you to be able to equip Mail armor so half of the classes can never use it. Second, it requires an Engineering skill of 205 which means you have to have Engineering as your 2nd profession to use it, and you have to be at least level 20 you get your skill level high enough. But if you’re questing in a zone that has mining nodes more than 5 levels above your current skill level then you’re probably better off going back to a lower level zone to level up anyway.
Luckily, recent patches and expansions have done a world of good in smoothing out the bottlenecks of leveling the Mining profession. The number of nodes have been drastically increased, placement around the world has been improved so that you find ores you need in more zones and across more evenly spread level ranges, and minimum requirements to use the profession in each expansion’s content have been lowered.
If you’re just leveling Mining itself, then you don’t have to worry about bottlenecks very much at all now. The one slight exception is 375+ where you can no longer smelt your ore for additional skill points. However, spending about an hour in any of the top 3 zones in Northrend should yield enough Saronite nodes to push you easily to the minimum requirements for Cataclysm nodes (425).
If you’re leveling Mining to fuel a crafting profession though, then of course you’re going to need massive amounts of certain ores/bars to craft all of the items that you need. And that’s where the following information can help.
The following are Ores that are required in a significantly higher amount that other ores in relation to certain crafting professions. Also note that the numbers given are for the amount of Ore required to make the number of Bars required to level the respective crafting professions.
Mithril Ore: [BS 320, Eng 161, JC 140]
This is your first big stumbling block as a Blacksmith. Up to this point Iron has been your biggest time sink and you need less than 200 of that. You’ll need 320 Mithril Ore to level a Blacksmith and that’s a lot of ore. Engineers and Jewelcrafters need a fair amount of Mithril as well, but not nearly as much as Blacksmiths.
My favorite place to farm Mithril is Badlands. It doesn’t have the highest number of nodes in it (Thousand Needles does), but one big benefit it has over all of the other zones that do have higher node-counts is that it’s mostly flat ground (so easy to farm without a flying mount) and the nodes are very close together and spread out perfectly along the edge of the zone. Just while leveling there for a short time on my Shadow Priest recently I got over half of what you would need as a Blacksmith in this zone alone, and as much again in Burning Steppes.
Thorium Ore: [BS 420, Eng 189, JC 50]
Thorium is next up on the list, and if you’re a Blacksmith then this is the second worst grind you’re going to face for a single type of ore. Thorium is easier to come by than it used to be, but it can still be a pain, especially if you need a lot of it. With a 420 Ore requirement for Blacksmithing you can get an idea of why so many people hate leveling BS and consider it a massive time/gold/material sink – because that’s what it is. Engineers need a fair amount of Thorium as well, but again less than half of what a BS does. Jewelcrafting might only use 50 Thorium Bars in their leveling, but a lot of the gems that need to finish off vanilla patterns are found from Thorium Ore making that number of 50 somewhat incorrect. You only need 50 bars, but if you can’t get your hands on the gems themselves then you’ll need much more than that in raw ore for Prospecting.
My preference for farming Thorium Ore is Un’Goro Crater. Just like my Mithril spot above, it doesn’t have the highest number of ore nodes (Winterspring does), but it does have a more farmer-friendly layout. The zone is relatively flat, though there are some times you’ll need to go up into the mountains around the edge of the zone to find your nodes. The best trait of the zone is that it’s almost perfectly round and most of the nodes are found around the outside ring, making farming there very simple and easy to do.
Cobalt Ore: [BS 320, Eng 324, JC -]
Cobalt Ore is the next bottleneck, the first ore of Nothrend. Blacksmiths need 320 Ore, but they’re outmatched this time by the Engineers who need 324. Jewelcrafters don’t need this ore in particular because we’ve now stepped away from Jewelry as the primary product of JC and now we’re looking more at Gems and what Jewelry we do have is mostly made with Eternals instead of smelted bars. That said though, you don’t really need all that much ore to level through Northrend content as a JC.
I hate farming Cobalt Ore; Of all the ores that WoW has to offer, Cobalt sucks the most. Well, not counting the uncommon nodes, of course. There are five primary zones that you can farm Cobalt, and while all of them offer a decent number of node locations, none of them are really set up for easy farming. The highest concentration of nodes is in Zul’drak, but I really don’t like the layout of the zone and the placement of the ore nodes there, so I usually avoid the place. Instead I prefer to farm in Howling Fjord because it has the simplest farming paths and many of the nodes can be farmed at-level without much risk of pulling nearby mobs because it has a large concentration of non-aggressive beasts and many nodes don’t have any mobs around them at all.
Elementium Ore: [BS 708, Eng 224, JC -]
Last up on our bottleneck list is Elementium, the highest common ore of the Cataclysm expansion. Blacksmiths will prepare for their worse ore farming spree yet with 708 Ore (354 Bars) needed to level their profession. Engineers don’t even come close with their 224 Ore (112 Bars) needed, and Jewelcrafters don’t necessarily need any of it at all.
While Deepholm supposedly has the highest number of Elementium nodes available, it’s also one of the most frequently farmed locations for it. Twilight Highlands is listed as having the second highest Elementium population, and Uldum the third. I’ve farmed in all three of these locations, and while Deepholm used to have Elementium everywhere you looked it’s now almost barren. Twilight Highlands is sort of the premium farming spot for almost everything so finding ore there sucks as well. So Uldum is my choice for farming Elementium even though the layout of the zone sucks compared to Deepholm’s circular setup.
For this bottleneck I’m going to have to say that you’re better off finding your own favorite spot on your server. Since this is new content these nodes will be targeted more than all of the others above, and each server has its own economy that will determine where you should farm or if you should even bother farming at all. It could be that your server is so full of farmers that your only real option is to farm the Auction House instead.
I don’t really follow the WoW-Professions guide much at all when I’m farming ore. I have followed their smelting guide, but generally I don’t power level Mining for the sake of having Mining, I do it to fuel a crafting profession. Because of that I don’t want to just reach the next level for the newest types of ore, I need to find good places to farm for certain types of ore and gather until I have enough for what I’m going to make.
As I mentioned before though, I also enjoy PvP twinking and like to keep a store of mats for power leveling my twinks’ professions, so I always farm more than I need so that I can keep my twink guild bank stored with whatever mats I need.
If you’re farming ore so that you can sell the ore/bars raw on the Auction House, it’s always good to know where the market stands on each type of ore, and what else you might be able to do with that ore by using any crafting professions you have access to that use it.
Before you sell your ore, always check the value of the bars you can make with it first. You might think that you’re making a kill selling a stack of ore for 90g, but you might be ripping yourself off if you could have smelted that ore and sold the stack of bars for 140g. It’s more common in bars that require 2 of their respective ores to craft instead of only 1, but I’ve turned even stacks of Copper Ore into Bars and sold them for 4x the profit before.
While it can be a hassle if you’re not used to it, it’s also a good idea to get to know your crafting professions well so that you know what you can craft with which type of mats. If you have a Blacksmith then you might want to consider not selling your Mithril/Thorium (the same for Fel Iron/Adamantite, Cobalt/Saronite, and Obsidium/Elementium) until you check the prices for Plate Tanking gear that you can make with that ore to see if it’s more valuable. When you’re dealing in Northrend and Cataclysm mats you may also want to check the prices on Plate DPS gear, especially those pieces that have Resilience and are good for PvP as they often sell well (server depending, of course).
If you have a Jewelcrafter then you might want to keep yourself familiar with the value of gems that you can prospect as well. You’ll rarely get more money prospecting Outlands ore than you would for selling the ore itself, and for the most part the same is true for Northrend. But for some vanilla gems and even some Cataclysm gems, sometimes you can get more money from prospecting than you can from the ore.
Your other option is to craft things with a BS/Eng/JC and then disenchant them with an Enchanter to then sell the enchanting mats or enchanting scrolls on the Auction House. You can search for details on this type of thing at various websites by searching for “Saronite Shuffle” or “Obsidium Shuffle” which can give you the basics. Some of it applies to just those particular ores, but you can apply the concept even to vanilla and Outlands ores as well.
Power Leveling List
1 – 60 Durotar, Dun Morogh
60 – 110 Barrens, Loch Modan
110 – 185 Ashenvale, Wetlands
185 – 205 Dustwallow Marsh, Hinterlands
205 – 265 Thousand Needles
265 – 300 Un’Goro Crater
300-360 Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand
360-450 Borean Tundra, Sholazar Basin
450-525 Mount Hyjal
1 – 65 – Copper Ore
65 – 125 – Tin Ore
125 – 175 – Iron Ore
175 – 230 – Mithril Ore
230 – 300 – Thorium Ore
300 – 325 – Fel Iron Ore
325 – 350 – Adamantite Ore
350 – 400 – Cobalt Ore
400 – 425 – Saronite Ore
425 – 475 – Obsidium Ore
475 – 525 – Elementium Ore